Eating Green

We’ve switched to a plant-based diet and it feels great. I didn’t realize how much hidden guilt I have over consuming other sentient beings. Or how much unacknowledged anxiety I had with cooking raw meat. Seriously, I don’t miss the stress of having a dedicated chopping board for meat, making sure internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, the threat of many food-borne illnesses.

Now that I am no longer cooking meat, I feel much more relaxed even if the kids hang out in the kitchen with me. I have a safer, cleaner kitchen just by switching to a plant-based diet. 

I feel as if I am becoming a person with a clean conscience as well as a healthier body. 

Do I miss eating meat? No, I don’t. I made curry the other night and I didn’t miss it at all. 

And another thing: cooking is faster now, since I don’t have to wait for the meat to cook. 

And I haven’t been this light in almost five years.  Winning!


My grandfather loved hummingbirds.
He especially loved hummingbirds when they would visit his garden
and feed from his string bean vines in full bloom.

I’m sure that if I ask my grandmother if she remembers this,
she would tell me that she does not.

But my mama remembers.
I remember.

One day, I asked my grandmother if she remembered that my grandfather used to take coumadin for his heart.

She told me that she tries to forget those things. They were in the past.

She tells me to wait until I get older, and see that I will forget too.

But I don’t want to forget. And therein lies the difference.
Until the day I die, I shall speak their names and remember.

How could I forget the way my grandfather looked as he was being wheeled into the operating room, with a confidence that he would survive that defied all logic.

He made it out alive of 4 open-heart surgeries.

He had a big heart, both literally and figuratively, but more importantly, figuratively.

I remember how he tickled so well that it was torment, your stomach and cheeks hurting from so much laughing.

I remember that he liked Reese’s peanut butter cups.

And coffee.

I’m glad that I was able to enjoy a cup of coffee with him.

And I’m glad for the times when he would tell me stories of when he was growing up in Bicol during the War.

My grandfather and my grandmother were both born in 1933, he in April, she in October.

My grandmother has never been much of a storyteller.

I keep wondering what she’s been trying to forget all these years.

To the point of forgetting that I am her granddaughter.

But today, I remember anew.

A hummingbird fed from the salvia on our patio.

And I remember my grandfather.

Roy Jonathan Briza Alvarez.

Ambivalent Limerent

Just when I thought I’d forget
Memories of you that upset
You end up in dreams
that tear at the seams
of this mind that’s ambivalent.

If I showed you a strange photo of the same Universe you live in, would you report me to the authorities?

If I told you that other dimensions are just as real as the ones we live in, would you sic the Spanish Inquisition on me?

If I said that even the most improbable things are still possible, would you scoff at me?

And what if the scientists figured out that what I was telling you was true because they’d created a machine that could verify the things I’ve known all along to be true?

What then would you do?

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I’m Here

I’m learning not to run away out of fear. I’m standing my ground. This time it’s going to be different. I’m staying put.

It was my first semester at Humboldt State.

APASA was getting ready for the Performance Festival of the Asian Pacific Heritage Month series of events.

Huong brought a bunch of Ao Dai for the dancers to try on.  I remember trying out the pink and the black one.  The black one fit better than the pink one.

I had to take my glasses off for the fitting.

I placed it on one of the couches.

After the dance practice, I went to look for my glasses, and Michi handed them to me.  But when I wore them, I immediately figured out that they were not mine.  Michi said that our glasses probably got switched.

I remember having to meet you at The J outside the floor where the mailboxes were so we could exchange glasses.

(And why does this sound like a scene from a shoujo manga?!)

The following semester, we became chat buddies and I got to know you better.

You have a way of understanding people and their actions that I’ve never encountered before.  I’ve come to rely on your perspective.

This is just another way you open up the Universe for me.

You’re my divinely prescribed lenses.  Without you, I’m stuck in this astigmatic and myopic view, not quite getting the big picture.

You expand my vision.

Thank you for your gift.